Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mistress of former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger takes in his book at a Bakersfield coffee shop

 Mildred Baena, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's mistress, was spotted at a Bakersfield coffee shop the other day reading the former governor's biography. The picture is featured on the TMZ website.

More memories of Jack LaLanne, and a local attorney gives a tip of the hat to the lads of Kappa Sigma fraternity out at Cal State Bakersfield

 * ... TRASH: Normally the only reward people get from picking up litter along the side of the road is the satisfaction of knowing they've done a good deed for their city. Franklin "Woody" Allen of Bakersfield got that and more on a recent cleanup patrol with members of his Kiwanis club. The crew was tidying up an area near Calloway Drive and Hageman Road when Allen spotted a crumpled piece of green paper. Yep, a $100 bill. Nice volunteer work if you can get it.

 * ... KAPPA SIGMA: College fraternities earn their own negative attention sometimes, but they can also do a lot of good and provide kids with lasting memories and a full college experience. Local attorney Dan Clifford was a Greek (Chi Psi) himself at the University of Oregon, and he passed on this bit of good behavior involving the Kappa Sigma fraternity out at Cal State Bakersfield. Turns out Clifford and his wife Jennifer went to Deer Peak Park to hold a birthday party for their daughter, but learned the park had already been reserved by the Kappa Sigs. James Wilson, one of the fraternity brothers, responded by helping the Cliffords carry tables to another area so both groups could enjoy the park. "Jennifer and I could not have been more relieved and appreciative. Shortly thereafter the playground was filled with screaming kids and the party went off without a hitch. For the fraternity’s part, they looked like they were having fun and were complete gentlemen. Although my encounter with the guys was brief, it was an extremely positive one. It is refreshing to know that the Greek system continues to turn out well rounded, good natured adults.  Many thanks to James and the rest of the Kappa Sigs. "

 * ... RALPH: My earlier note on the late fitness guru Jack LaLanne drew yet another local connection, this one from KNZR radio host Ralph Bailey. Turns out Ralph went to high school with LaLanne's son, Jon Allen, in Sherman Oaks where they both played baseball, soccer and football.  "And we were coached by Gary Fowler, former Highland, Centennial and Golden Valley coach and athletic director. Gary recently retired from Golden Valley and Jon Allen is playing in a band and is a pool cleaner in Brentwood. His parents came to all of his games and one of my great thrills came after one of our football games in which I ran back a punt for a touchdown. Mr. LaLanne came up to me and said, 'That was a great run, Ralph.' Thought I was gonna die! I don't know what impressed me more: the fact that he admired my run or the fact that he actually knew my name!"

 * ... KUDOS: Hats off to local human resources consultant Holly Culhane for coming up with a creative and generous way to recognize her company's 25 years in business. Instead of holding an anniversary party, Culhane sent out small, pre-stamped post cards asking folks to choose from three charities who would receive a $25 donation in their name. The non-profits are Youth for Christ/USA, the Bakersfield Rescue Mission and the Houchin Blood Bank capital campaign. Kudos to Holly and her colleagues over at PAS Associates.

 * ... DUST BOWL: If you are a history buff you might consider taking in the annual "Dust Bowl Festival" at the Sunset School in Weedpatch this Saturday. It's always an interesting look back at our past and will feature the usual wealth of comfort food (biscuits, gravy, cornbread etc) and classic cars. It runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: This nugget comes compliments of longtime reader Linda Welch: You might be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember "when the freedom train came to town on Baker Street carrying the Constitution and Bill of Rights... Also the other train that carried Harry S. Truman when he was running for president. He came out on the landing of the last car. What a thrill those trains were to a very small child."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lynda Halligan returns to KBAK TV as a morning anchor, and is Walmart headed to the old Mervyn's plaza on California Avenue?

 * ... KBAK: There is a familiar face back on the local morning television circuit. Lynda Halligan, who worked as a noon anchor and co-anchor of the evening news on KBAK TV (29) from 2003 to 2007, has returned as anchor of Channel 29's morning program. Halligan has spent more than 14 years in broadcasting, including time with QVC, Fuse and most recently the ReelzChannel. In the morning she is teamed with Aaron Perlman and Cambi Brown.

* ... LaLANNE: Did you know the late great fitness guru Jack LaLanne had a strong local connection? That's what I learned from a local couple, Herb and Rita Loken, who said they visited Jack's widow, Elaine, recently in Morro Bay. She said her husband and Jack met in the 1940s in Minneapolis and their friendship was renewed in the 1950s when Herb joined the staff at Bakersfield College. "As you may know, Jack LaLanne spent his early years in Lamont as a puny little kid but went on to be the forerunner of physical fitness. They opened their home to us on many occasions and their visits to Bakersfield always included dinner at the Woolgrowers," Rita said.

 * ... MILESTONES: It was three years ago this week that locally owned San Joaquin Bank was seized by federal regulators and shuttered during the housing and banking crisis.

 * ... OVERHEARD: One of my favorite local businesses, the UPS Store in the old Mervyn's plaza, is being forced to move because the building is being torn down. What will be built in its space? One friend was hoping for a Cabela's, and another for a Bass Pro Shop. Sorry, but one commercial real estate insider says a new Walmart will be built there.

* ... BC JAZZ: Here's a cause I could get behind. Some folks up at Bakersfield College have formed an organization devoted to the arts and culture. It's called "Friends of BC Jazz" and was the brainchild of two professors, Kris Tiner and Dr. Randal Beeman. The idea: raise an endowment of $50,000 to purchase equipment and to offer scholarships and travel for students. "We are more than pleased to announce that Columbine Vineyards in Delano has stepped up to the plate first with a $10,000 gift for the purchase of new equipment, which we hope to have on campus in time for our November concert," Beeman said. Anyone wishing to contribute a tax deductible gift can send a check to Friends of BC Jazz, in care of the Bakersfield College Foundation, 1801 Panorama Drive, Bakersfield 93305.

  * ... IRISH: Carolyn Bergman wrote to remind me of yet another Bakersfield youngster who is off to school at the University of Notre Dame. She is Nicole Madrilejo, a 2010 graduate of Garces Memorial High School who is now a junior in South Bend. She is an Irish cheerleader and is the latest in her family to attend the school. Her father, Dr. Nelson Madrilejo, graduated from Notre Dame while her mother, Nicole Madrilejo, is a nurse at San Joaquin Community Hospital.

 * ... FOOD SHOW: If you are a foodie, or even an aspiring cook, make sure you get your tickets to Savor Bakersfield, our town's most impressive cooking show set for Nov. 13 at Rabobank Theatre. It is a production of Dash (Parade) magazine and will feature English chef Jon Aston. Tickets are just $20 and available at or calling (800) 745-3000. The event will feature boutique shopping from over 40 local vendors, food sampling from 10 local restaurants (Noodle Bar, Padre, Johnny Rockets, Red Pepper, etc...) plus beer and wine sampling.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sarah Lawrence College tops the list of the most expensive schools in the country, and Terry Maxwell joins me on Californian Radio KERN 1180 to talk about the City Council race

 * ... COLLEGE COSTS: A stunning new study has identified the most expensive colleges in the nation. Ready for some sticker shock? Topping the list is Sarah Lawrence College in New York, which offers an annual tuition of $61,236. That's right, some $250,000 for four years and that doesn't include money for pizza, books, travel home, clothes and other things. Rounding out the top five were New York University at $59,837, Harvey Mudd College at $58,913, Columbia University at $58,742 and Wesleyan University at $58,202.

 * ... MAXWELL: Terry Maxwell is a well know restaurateur and long-time local businessman who is running for the Ward 2 City Council seat being vacated by Sue Benham. He has picked up some impressive endorsements, and Monday he will be my guest on Californian Radio KERN 1180 at 9 a.m. Tune in to hear Terry talk about his vision for our city and his views on the proposed 24th Street widening project.

* ... CALM: A couple updates on what is happening at the California Living Museum (CALM), compliments of Steve Sanders of the Kern County Superintendent of Schools. Next month will feature an exhibit of desert Bighorn Sheep, a partnership with the San Diego and Los Angeles zoos, and CALM's first cooperative breeding program. "Also on Nov. 10 CALM will be the recipient of a Kaboom! Playground in partnership with PGE.  Some 200 volunteers will build a playground in just one day. Last month over 25 kids helped design their dream playground at CALM and many of their ideas will be incorporated."

 * ... MILESTONES: Stinson's Stationers is celebrating 65 years in business this week. In a time when so many businesses have struggled to remain solvent, it's good to see a locally owned business flourishing by putting customers first.

 * ... OVERHEARD: During the Kern Wheelmen Spooktacular bicycle century Saturday a trim 62-year-old is sharing his fitness regimen with a group of riders. "Every day after I void my bladder in the morning - and I mean every day - I flush and then immediately jump on the bathroom floor and do as many push ups as I can before the water fills the toilet tank. I am aiming for 50 but yesterday I did 46. Sometimes I finish and I find the cat looking at me like I am insane." Really?

 * ... NICKELODEON: A local teenager has been chosen to appear on an upcoming episode of Nickelodeon when kids get a chance to as President Obama questions. Fernando Perez, a 15-year-old sophomore at Foothill High, will be among the students who will be posing questions on Linda Ellerbee's special, 'Kids Pick the President: The Candidates.' Fernando is the nephew of Connie Perez, an audit partner at Brown Armstrong who works out of the firm's Pasadena office.

 * ... FUND RAISER: The Boy Scouts Southern Sierra Council have come up with one of the more innovative ways to raise money. On Saturday, October 27, people will be rappelling down the tallest building in town (Stockdale Tower) to raise money. That's right, actually rappelling down the side of the building. Each participant has to raise $1,000 for the Boy Scouts, be at least 14 years old and weigh between 110 and 300 pounds. It's called Over the Edge and if you are interested, call (661) 325-9036.